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Sunday 18 August 2019
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Schoolgirls injured by scratch bombs

SCRATCH bombs exploded on Friday by students at the Tabaquite Secondary School, in an unplanned celebration in the spirit of Divali, have injured two schoolgirls. One of them, Skyla Paul, 12, suffered nerve damage to her left ear.

The incident is being investigated by Brasso police.

It was confirmed to Newsday by school principal Sherry Ann Boodram, who declined comment except to say that both students were taken for medical treatment.

A police report says at about 2.30 pm the school bell rang and students were leaving their classes when several scratch bombs were let off by a group of students who were standing near the auditorium. The other schoolchildren scattered, but more scratch bombs were detonated and one exploded a cluster of them.

Police said from their investigations, the students were playing some type of game. The winners were the group who had brought to school and let off the loudest “bomb.” Brasso police said one student exploded a scratch bomb near the cafĂ© that was so loud that Paul was seen clamping her palms her hands against both ears. The Form Two pupil was seen grimacing in pain and eventually, teachers helped her to a chair.

The students who were letting off the scratch bombs had not noticed Paul was in pain and continued setting off one scratch bomb after another, the report said. A police officer told Newsday another student, Breanna Mongal, 11, was seen holding her chest and struggling to breathe, and began to hyperventilate.

Teachers called the police and an ambulance arrived about an hour later. Mongal was taken to the health centre in the district, where she was treated and discharged. Paul’s parents arrived at the school and took their daughter to a doctor.

Police said from their investigations, if another very loud scratch bomb had exploded immediately after Paul ran off clutching her ears, she would have suffered acoustic trauma – damage to the eardrum. Such an injury to the inner ear is caused by exposure to a high-decibel noise or to high-decibel noises over a long period.

Newsday was told that Mongal has returned to school since the incident, but Paul had not up to yesterday.

When contacted, Boodram said, “We had such an incident and the matter is under investigation. All I can say is that the guards do check every child’s book-bag and their person, upon entering the school compound.”

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